Very few things can get folks worked up like suggesting a change in their church’s song format. It has been known to cause bitter fights and even church splits. So why take on so volatile a subject? Here are five reasons.

1. Your Music may be too Familiar. Sometimes we overkill a song. We sing it so often that it loses its true meaning. This can happen with new songs as well as old. I remember when our church learned one particular song that became very popular, so much so that we sang it a lot. After awhile it began to lose its power. I recall another church singing one hymn so much that one member told me they never cared to hear it again.

2. Your Music may not be Familiar Enough. Every congregation needs to learn new songs from time to time. But too much of this can be very frustrating to the folks in the pews, no matter how good the presentation by the worship team. Do you want God praised or do you just want your way? Think about it.

3. Your Music Choice may not Fit Your People. I’m not quite sure why this point is so hard for some people to grasp. They think that because a particular song or style of music speaks to them that it should also touch everybody else and they get upset if someone doesn’t care for it. Has it ever occurred to you that the reason there are different formats on the radio is because there are different tastes in music? You must learn your congregation and find the songs that speak to them if you really care about being effective.

4. The Songs may be too Difficult. Several small churches where I have served have used the old “Heavenly Highway Hymnal.” One of the things that makes this book unique is the number of songs with various parts in harmony with syncopated rhythm. I fondly remember singing these as a kid but they get passed over today because they are too hard. The same is true for a lot of contemporary songs…they are so difficult that only the musicians can do them. If you want the people to participate you’ve got to keep it where they can take part.

5. You may be Worshipping Your Music Service Instead of God. I have seen this happen with all different styles. People so taken with the service itself that they lose sight of the God they want to praise. Some folks are hung up on a style. Others care about an order of service (“we’ve always sang three songs and then the offering”). Whatever the case, if you’re not careful you will be worshipping the creature rather than the Creator.

If you see any of these danger signs creeping up you may need to prayerfully consider reviewing your church’s music.